When it comes to losing weight, building muscle, starting a new exercise routine, or stepping back into the gym after a long hiatus, our habits will dictate the outcome.
Most people being the process by focusing on what they want to achieve
-losing 20 pounds
-decreasing body fat by 5%
-Doing your first push up or chin up
This leads us to develop outcome base habits. Put in a situation where you are offered dessert while trying to lose weight, someone with outcome based habits might say “I have to pass, I’m trying to lose weight and stick to my plan”.
Not a bad answer, BUT outcome based habits never address the underlying beliefs that have led to your previous behaviors.You may have a goal or new plan in place, but you haven’t changed who you are.
On the flip side, let’s use someone with “Identity based habits” as an example. This person has the same goals, but by using identity based habits, their focus isn’t on the outcome (Losing weight), but rather on the process (becoming a more healthy individual). When offered dessert, someone with identity based habits might say “ I’m going to pass, I avoid high sugar foods”.
Notice the difference??
In the first example, the individual is more or less “hoping” that they will be able to stick to their plan as long as possible. In the second example, the individual spoke as if their newly formed habit was already part of their identity. They’re identifying as someone who is healthy by avoiding high sugar foods.
While these differences may seem subtle, the power behind identity based habits is truly amazing. When we start to view ourselves as the person we want to become, we begin to take pride in this new version of ourselves. If you’re proud of how hard you’re working in the gym you’re far less likely to sabotage yourself by falling off your diet or skipping the gym.
“Improvements are only temporary until they become part of who you are. Your behaviors are usually a reflection of your identity. What you do is an indication of the type of person you believe that you are, either consciously or unconsciously.” James Clear (Author of Atomic Habits).
Try using Identity based habits when setting your next goal, and let us know how it works out for you!